Chick-fil-A issues ‘Who we are’ statement

Chick-fil-A, caught in the center of controversy over gay marriage rights since last summer, on Thursday released apolicy of inclusion it’s sending to franchisees and employees.

The company also said its corporate giving has been “mischaracterized” in recent months, though it did not offer details.

The “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are” document seeks to spell out the company’s pledge of non-discrimination to employees and guests and make it clear that statements by individuals at the chain do not speak for the company.

“If someone in Chick-fil-A offers a personal viewpoint, they do not presume to speak for everyone,” the document says.

The move came two days after Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno said he had negotiated a deal with the Atlanta-based company to create the document. In addition to commiting to be more inclusive, he said the chain promised to refrain from supporting organizations that oppose gay marriage.

Chick-fil-A found itself in the center of the culture wars this summer after Dan Cathy, its president and chief operating officer, made comments in news interviews that sided with traditional marriage proponents.

Supporters of gay marriage cried foul and accused the company of supporting same-sex discrimination. Moreno held up a new store in his district. Critics said the company has given to anti-gay marriage organizations through franchises and the chain’s WinShape Foundation.

Thursday, the company said it wanted to provide “context and clarity” as a result of news about the Chicago deal.

Most of the “Who We Are” statement echoes a general non-discrimination statement it issued shortly after Cathy’s remarks. It said the chain treats “every person with honor, diginity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender … We are a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality; our intent is not to engage in political or social debates.”